Common Narrative with ID on MN

4 posts were split to a new topic: What is “Hypernaturalism”?


It’s that a priori assumption about God - excuse me “The Designer” - who we can never form any direct hypotheses about.

To my thinking, it’s starts with defining the hypothesis. IF you can form a testable hypothesis about God, then something is very very wrong. If I proposed an equation to describe God, or some chemical formula, then we are asking questions about the material properties of God.

That should be a non-starter for both science and religion.


We theists know, or absolutely should know, that God will not perform upon demand in a scientific test.

(…nor can we scientifically detect his hypernatural activity in the past.)


@Michael_Callen, there are several issues we have with ID. One of them is that they are trying to change the rules of science. There are whole set of other, unrelated objections about how they handle evidence.

While I do not think divine design is a valid scientific conclusion, I think it could be valid science-engaged hypothesis to test.

So, I often tell ID proponents, “fine, we disagree about MN and whether to label this science or not, so let’s set that aside for now and see if your case makes logical sense and is grounded in accurate facts and observations. If you are right here, I’ll acknowledge it, and we can disagree about whether or not it is ‘science’ or not.”

That is the premise under which most of the scientific back and forth with ID usually proceeds. It is not as if MN somehow prevents this. We can still have an exchange back and forth with them about their claims even if we disagree about whether or not the exchange is “science engaged” or “science” itself.


Again, I did not specify what the hypothesis would be, only that, if it could be stated, repeated and validated empirically, it should be allowed.

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Hi. :slightly_smiling_face:

You can pretty much replace hypernatural with providence in the way that we normally think about it. Not too many of us are going to claim are going to claim that God broke natural laws in his provision for us, unless there has been a remarkable healing beyond medical explanation.

My reference was really about God’s directing evolution providentially , and I would go so far as to not preclude abiogenesis.

That’s a very good question. The reason why is that ID proponents claim that the existing data from labs demonstrates design. Now when we scientists have a scientific hypothesis, we are eager to test it empirically. ID proponents, somehow, seem incapable of DOING anything.

How do you interpret those decades of inaction?

In my opinion, if they want to claim that they are being scientific, they should have no trouble doing some science that takes it further–testing an ID hypothesis. How can they confidently see that a newly-published paper supports ID, but never even propose any followups?

I could not possibly disagree more. MN is promoted because it has been enormously successful, over centuries. There is no agenda. I was a professional atheist scientist before I was a believing scientist, and never did we discuss creationism as having any bearing or relevance for our methodology.

Tendentious? hypocritical? Destructive? Are you serious? I am sure that you realize that the components of the computer with which you write these words were made possible because of the strict application of MN (i.e. the scientific method.)

No believer would disagree, even if we have no example that we can point to. However should we encounter a miracle, say a person capable of walking across water, the way to study it would be to instrument the water with pressure monitors and cameras etc. and take measurements and employ MN. In this case, in the case of a miracle, it would fail-- but it would still be the way to investigate.

EDIT: typo


Welcome David to Peaceful Science!! Thanks for posting!


Thanks John for your reply! Again, I’ve got no horse in the race and consistent with the topic, I’m trying to find middle ground. So, if a testable hypothesis were put forth, and the results were repeatable, verifiable, and empirical, and they pointed somehow to an intelligent designer, you would be willing to accept those results?

I’m only asking, because I continually hear from the ID camp that there is no reason to do the science because we’re precluded by MN from bringing our results to the table. So, if this is so, it is a real obstacle. If it is not so, then it is an excuse to not do anything.


Welcome, Dr. Heddle, to Peaceful Science.

I would be very interested in learning more of your life experience and story. We have often encouraged newcomers to Peaceful Science to introduce themselves on their own “New Topic” thread—if they are so inclined. No pressure. Just a friendly invitation if you should happen to find the time.

I’ve greatly enjoyed your blog on such an interesting and diverse collection of scientific and theological topics. I considered posting the link here but I don’t want to appear pushy. So I’ll just be appreciative and say that I consider your series of casual reflections to be great reads.


@david.heddle Welcome to Peaceful Science!

Watch out for this @AllenWitmerMiller guy, before you know it he will be telling wonderful old stories at you! :wink:


Guilty as charged! (I’m sort of the self-appointed village storyteller—because there’s nothing to stop me from telling yet another “That reminds me of something interesting that happened long ago when …” anecdote. I’m sort of like Woody Allen’s character in the 1983 film, Zelig, the fly on the wall who quietly observed the last half century of American evangelicalism unfold.)


Does he have any other kind? :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: But then I can’t talk – I’m in my anecdotage, not being able to remember to whom I’ve told what story.


When Ken Burns produces his The Story of Peaceful Science documentary film for PBS, I plan to be the Shelby Foote talking head—minus the drawl.


It will be way more cheery than The Civil War. :slightly_smiling_face: (Although I loved the music.)

I for one am very much looking forward to seeing @swamidass wearing a stovepipe hat and addressing the outdoor audience: “There must be a better way—a forum of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

And who wouldn’t want to watch “Chapter Four: Patrick Joins the Forum” while the soulful fiddle of “Ashokan Farewell” provides a haunting embellishment to David McCullough’s stirring narration?


(And Josh @swamidass would be reading from the back of an envelope. :slightly_smiling_face:)

And to interject an educational tidbit into our tangent of mindless but harmless levity, the memorable Abraham Lincoln soundbite “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” actually originates in the preface to John Wycliffe’s English Bible translation:

The Bible is for the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
— John Wycliffe (1384)


My opinion: MN has a problem with God not because he’s (it is said) intelligent but because he’s not a well-formed hypothesis. There is nothing to expect if the hypothesis is true and nothing to expect if the hypothesis is false. Since anything could be a result of divine action and in fact could be made to resemble any other cause (he’s omnipotent, i.e.), the hypothesis is useless in science. It’s not methodological naturalism, it’s methodological usability. Similarly, “supernatural” seems to mean, if anything, “unable to be studied”.